Vacation to SFO: Day 1

CRW_6524 Well, Jamie and I are back from our weekend vacation to San Francisco. You may not have known that we left in the first place, but we did! It’s the first vacation that I’ve really taken since I was hired at Avanade, but it was nice to get away from work, if it only meant taking one day off. The trip was not exactly what I expected, but I really enjoyed it, despite our hotel selection, immature middle/high school students, and rain the first two days.

When we were originally thinking of a vacation, we wanted it to be over the weekend and for it to be three days long. We also wanted it to be reasonably priced. After looking around online for flight/hotel deals, we settled on San Francisco. We didn’t settle like, “Oh, man, I guess San Fran is it”. But, more like, “OK, that works, let’s go!” Before this weekend I had never been to San Francisco, and so I was interested to see what it would be like. I have heard lots from people who have been and really loved it, so my expectations were high.

The night we arrived, we got in a little late. Alaska Airlines was late leaving the gate, their air conditioning didn’t work on the plane until we were in flight, and they had to start one engine at a time or something since there was some reason they couldn’t do it how they normally do. Oh, and the reading lights on the entire right side of the plane were out for the first little bit of the flight. Ah, yes, welcome to my first experience with Alaska Airlines.

CRW_6522Once we arrived at SFO, we headed to the AirTran and made our way to the BART station. Jamie and I made a decision that we’d take public transportation everywhere. So, our first stop was figuring out how to work the BART. $5.10 later we had a ticket that would take us from the airport to the station nearest our hotel. Nothing too exciting that night except a bunch of immature middle/high school aged kids in for some Christian conference. I don’t want to write much about them, since they were pretty terrible.

Friday morning we wanted to head out and see the city. The weather was going to be fighting us until Sunday, so we figured that we still needed to make the best of it. So, our first stop was Starbucks for breakfast then off to Fisherman’s Wharf to see if we could get on a Ferry to Alcatraz. A BART trip and a Muni ride later, we arrived at the Wharf. It was damp, rainy, and not too pleasant out. When we got to the ticket booth the next available ferry was the 12:15pm on Sunday. So, knowing that the weather was going to be much better that day, we purchased our tickets and went back to the Wharf to wander around.

After getting a little damp, I left my umbrella in the hotel that morning (doh!), we headed back into the city on a trolley car. The ride was pretty fun, but I bet it is more fun in nicer weather. At any rate, it is one of those things that is uniquely San Francisco and you at least need to do it once. We we arrived downtown we got of at the stop nearest Union Square. It is not what I expected (I just thought it’d be all grass), but it was still neat to see all the buildings around it. Later we wandered down to the Apple store, took a peak inside, then headed over to Meteron. There we poked our heads in the Sony store and the PlayStation store, then had a sushi lunch, which was perfect.

Protest at City HallOn our way back into downtown we walked past the container store, and the magnetic force of that store on Jamie is pretty strong, so we headed in. That place is like cat nip for her. It like a euphoric experience for her. If she had unlimited money, she’d buy everything. Yes, everything. Once we dried off a bit and headed back onto the street, we waited for a bus and headed back to the hotel to rest for a little bit. But, on our way back, Jamie saw City Hall and wanted to take a look. So, we headed down the road to City Hall and were greeted with a protest between Christians and Non-Christians. We made our way around that and saw the inside of City Hall and also saw court arranged marriages being performed. City hall was cool, but nothing too exciting, in my opinion. Looks, a lot better on the outisde ;)

Once we were rested enough, we headed back out into town and ventured to get some dinner at a local Diner (which ended up being a chain). The food was OK, and it has to have been the first time I saw Jamie not finish her meal. So, we headed back out onto the streets and then decided that we wanted some dessert. Next stop, Cheesecake Factory. We wanted to eat it there, but wait three hours for a table? I don’t think so. We even had to wait 45 minutes just to get a pager. It was crazy. So, we got our dessert to go, found a place that sold wine and headed back to the hotel for the night.

Back at the hotel, I tried to uncork the wine, but I couldn’t do it with the cheap ass cork I bought. So, Jamie took it to the bar to get it uncorked. After all that was settled it was dessert, wine, and Good Night and Good Luck, which, by the way, is a very good movie. As the movie began to close, the racket began to increase in the halls. It was nearly midnight, and this was getting old… fast. So, a call to the front desk and a security guard was on his way up. Jamie went out to the hall and schooled them and they were pretty shocked and sorry about it. My stance was that it just needed to stop and that enough was enough. But, if they didn’t get that message from us, they sure did from the security guard, he laid the smack down, hard. So hard, we could hear it in our room. Funny thing was that after he left, it was quiet all night. Amazing.

More days to come in later posts. There’s just too much to write in one entry!